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Life Getting Shorter For Women

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Life Getting Shorter For Women

Each generation in the U.S. has lived longer than the one prior to it…eventually that has to change or successive generations will be living to be 200! Although life expectancy in the country in general has been increasing for the last twenty years, a new study shows that life expectancy for women has declined in 313 U.S. counties. (Curiously, life expectancy for men declined in only six counties.)

“We have talked about this trend as being the biggest decline in life expectancy since the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 in the U.S.,”¯ said Ali Mokdad, a professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, which issued the report.

Along with the gender disparities, the regional variations are very surprising. Life expectancy increased in the North with few exceptions (even in urban places like New York City). Yet large areas of the South saw decreases for women, in some cases by as much as nearly two years. Decreases were particularly concentrated in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

According to Remapping Debate: the life expectancy in Mississippi was the lowest in the country in 2007, at 77.9 years for women and 70.9 years for men, trailing the national figures by several years in both cases. And in one fifth of Mississippi counties, things are getting worse. In Sunflower County, a county of fewer than 30,000 people near the Mississippi River in the northeastern part of the state, life expectancy for women decreased more significantly than virtually anywhere else in the country, from 75.5 years in 1987 to 73.6 years in 2007.

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Read more: Caregiving, Diet & Nutrition, General Health, Health, Healthy Aging,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

60 comments

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1:36AM PDT on Mar 24, 2013

I'm not American.

10:39PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

A lot of women especially these days have a lot of responsibility the family, the job, juggling things right left and centre. Too much stress.

2:03AM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

Needed Info

3:07PM PST on Feb 8, 2012

Oh, thanks. We did need to know that.

8:17AM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

Very disturbing statistics.

1:18PM PDT on Jul 15, 2011

Thank you

7:36AM PDT on Jun 28, 2011

thank you

2:51AM PDT on Jun 28, 2011

I am on a diet as of Monday 4th July. Why wait you ask? Because I am off to visit my son in London until then and I hope to enjoy a few wonderful meals!

12:03PM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

Most definitely diet and lifestyle. Women typically less calories than men, so obesity will hit harder on women since her and her male counterpart will typically eat the same amount of calories (usually from unhealthy sources).

This is not good news, but it's best to remember that life is valued in quality of years,not quantity. (Of course, you must be healthy and fit to enjoy your years to their fullest...)

11:17AM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

Not good news, hopefully we can change it

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